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Can My Parents and Friends Help Me With My College Application?

September 04, 2013 :: Admissionado Team

essay writing

One college application question we come across pretty often is this: Can My Parents and Friends Help Me With My College Application?

Are you asking if they are ALLOWED to help or if they are ABLE to?

Either way, the short answer is that it depends on the kind of help you’re looking for.

You should never have someone else write your application for you. Even if your mom is a writer for the New York Times or your best friend has won a billion poetry contests. No one can write your essay better than you can. No one knows your mind—the way you think—better than you do. Colleges don’t want to know your dad’s or your friend’s version of how you see the world. That’s not the person applying to their school. You are. You must write your own application. Not only is this an academic integrity issue, writing it yourself makes it BETTER because it’s written with a genuine voice, not a voice trying to be genuine.

That being said, there are a few ways that friends and family can help you during the application process:

  • If you have trouble remembering all the activities you’ve participated in throughout the years when you’re writing your list of extracurricular activities, your family and friends can help you brainstorm.
  • Similarly for the essay topics, your family and friends can help you brainstorm ideas if you’re stuck. They may even be able to help you narrow down your ideas. But in the end, the final decision should be yours—it should be a smart, educated decision that has considered all the options, but it should be yours.
  • When you finish writing your essay, you can ask a trusted reader if everything is clear. A trusted reader is someone with serious writing and editing experience, and ideally someone with an intimate knowledge of college admissions.
  • Similarly for proofreading, you can ask your favorite grammarista to do a quick sweep of your essay for glaring errors.
  • You can have someone (or multiple people) proofread your Common App for you. Sometimes it’s easy to make silly errors on those online forms. When you finish filling everything out, if your eyes feel like they are going to explode, you can, once again, have a trusted proofreader glance over it to make sure there aren’t any horrendous errors.

When it’s crunch time, your friends and family can also help you by giving you space, or hugs, or cookies, or really healthy snacks, or bringing you coffee, or encouraging you to go to the gym or go for a run and generally help you stay healthy and sane.


By Emily Herzlin, Admissionado Senior Editor

(Image source here.)